Canterbury tales characters represent the ideas of religious corruption, love, and rivalry in the medieval society’s context. In any fiction work, the author uses characters to convey ideas via their personalities and develop a story. Without the Canterbury tales characters, Geoffrey Chaucer would not have progressed his story.
The Canterbury Tales Characters Analysis
The Canterbury Tales is a collection of several short stories written in the classical Middle English. Geoffrey Chaucer, a 14th-century poet, wrote the stories. These stories are diverse and full of characters. Analyzing Canterbury tales characters and descriptions is a great way to get the messages that the author tries to convey through his fictional work.
Nevertheless, the story is driven by the characters that play a crucial role in all sections, whether in the background or in an obvious way. But, how many characters in Canterbury tales play a significant role in the development of the stories. Well, different Canterbury tales character descriptions show that each character plays a role in the featured stories. This analysis features the main characters in Canterbury tales. Don’t hesitate to use for your book report or essay.
The Major Canterbury Tales Characters
Chaucer is the narrator. This character is an objective witness and voice of reason. That’s because he tells things as they’re throughout the story. As such, no Canterbury tales characters chart can be complete without him.
- The Knight
The Knight is present in almost all stories. He personifies all features of a good courtier of the mid 14th century. These include fidelity, generosity, prowess, and reputation. Any Canterbury tales character analysis depicts him as a major player in the story. The reader is told that he has fought Spaniards, Muslims, Egyptians, and Turks. He is presented as a well-traveled, hardy fighter.
The Knight is among the top characters in the Canterbury tales because he represents adventure, valor, and chivalry in the story. He’s arguably the only honorable and reliable character in all stories.
- The Pardoner
Most Canterbury tales prologue characters descriptions depict the Pardoner as an exploiter and crook. The pardoners of those days sold indulgences to the religious folks to atone their sins. In these stories, the Pardoner is not different. But, he takes his work too joyously. The reader sees the Pardoner as a person that wants cash in on religious weaknesses and moves on.
Any Canterbury tales characters summary will depict the Pardoner as a material man with an insatiable desire for material things. Ironically, this desire contrasts with the stereotype that is associated with his social position.
This character represents corruption and division in the church. He sells junk as artifacts. This personifies the take Chaucer has towards the church.
- The Wife of Bath
Sparknotes Canterbury tales characters description depict the Wife of Bath as a personal wife that is a seamstress by occupation. This character has been into five marriages. She had several affairs during her youth. This presents her as well-practiced when it comes to making love.
She is one of the major female characters in the Canterbury tales. She presents herself as a person that loves sex and marriage. However, the reader sees her as a person that rakes pleasure in talking, arguing, and rich attire. The gap she has between the front teeth makes her attractive. She has made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem thrice and in Europe.
- The Miller
Miller plays the role of the working man in the story. He is an oaf and a drunk that rips doors off their hinges. He extensively assaults the narrator, the Wife of Bath, and the Knight verbally. The Miller pins after the Wife of Bath and the Prioress. The Prioress is also one of the major characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury tales.
The Miller provides comic relief by interrupting the narrator’s tales and breaking the wall on varied occasions. He is a hard-working, common man that is doing his best to succeed in life. Nevertheless, he is prone to humankind’s pitfalls, primarily lust and drunkenness.
- The Prioress
The Prioress is a refined and chaste woman of love and purity. Being more than what she seems, the Prioress is one of the key characters in Canterbury tales. In the 14th century, a mother was supposed to be superior. However, the Prioress was a gossiping and vain woman that stretched the truth to suit her will.
The Prioress and the Wife of Bath are the major female characters in the story. Both are the center of the affections of most men in the story. The Prioress tries to look holy and deliberate.
However, she is messier under her skin. Arguably, Chaucer wanted the Prioress to represent the entire church as looking consecrated yet it’s dirty underneath.
Just like the Pardoner, the author uses the Prioress to represent corruption in the church. She looks good and chaste yet she is disgusting in the inside just like other sinners.
- The Friar
No Canterbury tales prologue characters list will be complete without the Friar. This is a roaming priest that doesn’t have a home church. He also doesn’t have a particular allegiance to other characters in this story. The Friar befriends everyone and he likes rich men and young women. That’s because these can cater to his needs.
Nevertheless, the narrator tells his readers that the Friar is among the Canterbury tales prologue characters that are susceptible to corruption or bribes. Again, this shows that Chaucer was not a major supporter of the 14th-century church because of its money mongering and corruption.
Just like the Pardoner and the Prioress, the Friar is depicted as a religious mercenary that is less concerned with kindness and love than he’s with material prosperity. This character enhances the theme of a political outcry by Chaucer against the 14th-century religious system.
- The Monk
The Monk is another character to be found on almost every Canterbury tales prologue characters chart. In the middle Ages, monks resided in monasteries. Monks were supposed to adhere to the Rule of Saint Benedict that required them to devote all their lives to prayers and work. But, the Monk cares little about this rule. He is devoted to eating and hunting. He is loud, large, and well-clad in furs and hunting boots.
- The Summoner
The majority of the Canterbury tales characters descriptions depict the Summoner as a lecherous man with leprosy scars on his faces. He is a drunkard with an irritable personality. Thus, he is not particularly qualified for the position he occupies. This character is responsible for bringing individuals that violate the law of the church to the ecclesiastical court.
- The Host
The Host is also one of the key figures in the list of Chaucer Canterbury tales characters. He is loud, merry, and large. However, he has a quick temper. In addition to mediating among pilgrims, The Host facilitates the flow of different tales. But, his “host” title might be a pun. It suggests the Holy Host or the Eucharist and an innkeeper.
Whether filling a Canterbury tales characters quizlet or writing an essay, these are some of the characters to mention. That’s because these characters play crucial roles in the development of the featured stories. Thus, they should be considered when writing an essay or responding to a Canterbury tales characters quiz. If you need more assistance, feel free to contact our literature assignment experts.